EMCR Lunchtime Seminar 6: Citizen Science & Education Panel with Q&A

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2R7-zYDWxE"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][Music] okay so thank you everyone for joining today before we begin i just want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we are all joining uh today and zooming in um lands in which we all live work and learn i'm joining today from the land of the gadagal people from your your nation uh you're please feel feel free to share the places where you're joining uh in the chat today um and share that uh with everyone and i would also like to thank you all for coming today and joining in this special seminar which is a little bit different than the seminars that we've had up till now so we've had many times is just focus on one speaker in these uh lunchtime seminars uh and then having discussions around different uh um topics that are sort of highlighted from that um talk but today we decided to try and mix it up a little bit and bring you three speakers to all talk about one common topic which is citizen science and education and so i'm glad to see all the people that joined today and came to to listen to this really interesting channel um and if you have any questions or anything that you want to ask um feel free to write it in the chat but we will also open this up for a conversation uh at a later stage um during the conversation i'm yaela golembic i will be [Music] moderating today uh i also have a background um that is related to citizen science and education this is a topic i'm very passionate about personally and so i'm very happy to hear from all our speakers today and i will just introduce them one by one so you know who you're talking to and i feel this is a really special panel that we have today because um each one of these fantastic women that are joining us today comes from a completely different background uh and brings you know very unique experiences today to discuss so i'm very excited to hear um everything you have to say today so firstly we have dr aaron fagan jeffries she's a postdoctoral research fellow at the university of adelaide and south australia museum and she's studying let me see if i can say this correctly here is the toeic arizona clasp yes she is part of a team that is running the insect investigation citizen science project for regional schools to document insects and biodiversity in their local area the project was also a recipient of the new inspiring australia grants that we've just been uh announced last month so congratulations erin next we have denver firmer she is doing a phd in chemistry education at the university of sydney at the scope group the science communication education outreach participation and education previously she was a senior science teacher and curriculum coordinator in the northern territories and her research focuses on how curriculum influences classroom experiences for year 11 and year 12. in chemistry and how teachers can be supported to use peer review education practices in their classrooms thank you for joining jen uh lastly but not least um ajamind khan she is an entrepreneur environmental scientist science communicator and a passionate community capacity builder she's the founder of stem catalyst which is a grassroots community organization established by migrant stem professional women art shares knowledge and passion for nature and for science through a wide array of stem education activities she's also very active in the community and volunteers her time for several causes social environmental and citizen science of course and so before i begin um we start talking about citizen science maybe we can just hear from each of you a little bit about yourself a little bit more from what i've sort of discussed uh what are your experiences what brought you to where you are today you can just uh jen why don't you start just randomly sounds good so for me my interest in citizen science sort of came from this real desire to get involved in real science in classrooms so um i thought this seemed like a really good idea but a lot of people sort of like well i don't know if this is really possible but i came across this project called the black autumn bees project um where a neuroscientist had worked with students in england to um do some real research on b b's and they'd actually managed to publish it in the biology letters journal and that just sort of like sparked me i was like this is actually possible this is something i can do um and so that was the beginning of my journey in citizen science and then um working in a school in the northern territory we had some really interesting um land around the school we had some cast limestone area that had sinkholes um and they also it also had some endangered grasses sorghum grasses and possibly unidentified land geckos and land snails and so i was really excited about this idea of potentially discovering and describing new species with my students and so my journey sort of came from this desire to do real science with my students and then we sort of ended up starting up this kind of grassroots citizen science project before i knew what citizen science really was and now i'm working in a group with people like yala who know and understand they're really involved in citizen science and i'm getting involved in that in a um in the capacity of working through the breaking good and essential medicines projects where we're looking at bringing drug disguise and discovery um into a citizen science fair there so now i'm working on it in a more official capacity i suppose thank you jen alright you want to go next there we go yeah thanks thanks hello and um yeah my journey to citizen scientist citizen science started back in 2017 um where i was representing um a global panel of citizens a global panel of migrant scientists and engineers um from stem backgrounds um through a program in royal society of victoria um and after that even slowly i've started concentrating that project in my local area so um one hour-long project was actually enlarged and magnified to be delivered to a primary school children upper upper primary school children where we gave them the opportunity in lunch time and recess time that they could experience hands-on learning so that was like a live light bulb moment for many upper primary students and they've they really felt that science which is happening around us can be felt through doing simple activities so um and that really made the the school management so this is through csiro um that we launched the program called stem professionals in schools and slowly we built up and when the significant uh interest was developed we were told that you know why don't we um why don't we women who are volunteering for school for one whole academic year go out there and you know set up set up an official when uh ourselves as a vendor so that the school can you know officially bring this expertise alongside teachers so a bit of a background that i don't have a teaching background but science and nature is my passion so how can we incorporate that passion together which amalgamates beautifully through citizen science um and that we can create that spark in young and you know an inspiration in young minds so that's how stem catalyst came into being over to you hearing i guess i like ash i came from the science side of things so i was pure research when i did did honours and i was studying little crustaceans um i then went and studied science communication at anu and that kind of broadened me out of my academic silo and took me into regional places of australia and i connected with people and got really excited about the idea of um you know science being more than just researchers in institutions and science being done by lots of people so when i started my phd i wanted to find a way to do that and discovered citizen science and that you know this idea was already a really established practice and so that was kind of my first entry into it was finding a way that i could incorporate citizen science into my phd to allow me to you know broaden my project out from just me doing it in isolation but also i guess selfishly citizen science was a way that combined the two things that i loved which was doing research and it was doing science communication and working with people and citizen science was kind of that perfect combo of those two things thank you so much and i'm really glad that we you know got to to meet you a little bit and to hear about your journeys and i find that when we look at citizen science and people that are doing citizen science people come into it from so many different angles um and i think just find it really really interesting to see you know what that background is and what people's journey into citizen science was and so now that we've learned a little bit about that maybe we can um hear a little bit about the programs that you're running and what citizen science projects you're involved with and how you're engaging young people in science through citizen science erin why don't you go first yeah so the insect investigators project that we're getting off the ground at the moment um is probably very very close to my heart and something i'm very passionate about and it's about getting regional school students to actually be part of discovering their biodiversity and documenting it and then hopefully getting to name new species so um we're partnering schools with taxonomists which are the scientists who name and describe um new species and in this case we're focusing on insects so the schools that we'll be working with will um be running uh something called a malaise trap which is a um kind of looks a bit like a tent instead of a freestanding trap that passively collects insects um and we'll then be doing some dna barcoding of the insects in their samples and sending the um the insects off to to scientists to tell us a little bit more about them and then feeding all those results back to the school and it's it's all about really trying to connect people with uh their local environment and you know we we think we've only named 30 of the insects in australia so there's so much to be discovered and and it really can't be done by the kind of employed researchers that we that we currently have it's got to be a bigger effort and we're kind of hoping this project is a way to to start that um yeah so we're kind of we're just about to sort of do an official launch and and try and get some schools and taxonomists involved uh we did a little trial uh over the last couple years with four schools in regional south australia um and that was super successful so yeah hoping it all goes well that's really exciting we'll all um cross our fingers for you and uh for the success of the program all right um arjan you also had some pictures you wanted to share in some videos so feel free to do yeah yeah um we we actually you know when we started um doing citizen science it was right in the middle of the pandemic and when the schools were closed and we were working closely with schools um that's where we we decided you know to come with this innovative you know way of keeping children busy and students busy in their continual process of learning um so we we held um webinars during the national science week and prior to that we were holding the panamic stress was getting intense you know by mid-june july last year and being mothers ourselves just a minute please um that's the prayer call just a minute there i am back so um as i was saying that in the middle of the pandemic um when it was getting intense you know children staying at home and there was this five minutes and 10 minutes of work that that was planned um what can what best can we do um and that's where we decided that let's turn to these app-based citizen science projects wherein we can keep their continual with their process of learning as a journey and encourage them more so um we started delivering free webinars to community children um within our own contacts first of all and then to the outside community councils when they come came to know about this they really love the programs and they funded the programs so um we run a fair few projects if you would like to play the first video there's only one video there that was the project funded by inspiring australia and that's where we taught um children to code a small bank card size gadget called microbit um and that was their learning to how to code as well as going in their you know backyard of the community house to find how much diverse life we can find so there were two groups um a fauna group and a flora group so basically the children who were placed in the flora group went and found as many different species of plants that they could find through their coated microbit which acted as a counter and they brought in some really amazing insects and creepy crawlies uh in onto the table to view them close they've handed them led magnifying glasses we discussed these structures and then we we noted the biodiversity within that within that um small space and it was really amazing if you could play that video you know there we go [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] thanks yellow so that that's something that you know um that was in between the windows of those lockdowns we planned that event and that event was really liked by the community and we kept volunteering after that we kept volunteering for more um because the interest is so immense that children love to you know go outdoors we conducted a few more citizen science activities along the creek um and yeah they were they were different to um to biodiversity we were looking at the water bugs and then we had a couple learn on wild pollinators so that's how you know outside of the schools we were still using citizen science same age group same children but again i would say it's a very informal way of sparking the love for stem thank you uh that that really looks amazing that video is um so inspiring and makes us all want to go back and search for insects and things like that okay thanks so much jen do you want to tell us a little bit about your project yeah so um the sinkhole project i was talking about that we worked on in in school in catherine in the northern territory was kind of similar to both of those projects in terms of like trying to really get students and learners to to get engaged with noticing insects around noticing biodiversity and we also sort of tried to go into the sort of um fire management um space as well so we try and monitor the way the land changed we have a wet season and a dry season often fires in the dry season every year up there and so we'd also try and get that sort of ecological management involved in that project um so that's kind of similar to what aaron and i are doing but the um projects i'm working on now in at the university of sydney are very different to that they're chemistry based projects so breaking good project is one that's mostly lab based so we're working with the public but mostly undergraduate students and sometimes year 11 and 12 science extension or chemistry students to involve them in the drug discovery and design process we've worked with the open source malaria project and the open source myself project to develop some new medicines and also worked on uh different ways of synthesizing medicines that we already have with the breaking good project and involving students in maybe if they can't get into the lab um thinking of ways that they could um look at the reaction mechanisms and design those medicines so that's the breaking good project and the essential medicines project is kind of a almost you might describe it as a spin-off of that project where um we're looking at the accessibility of those medicines so i i sort of like explaining it to students as there's no point in all these scientists making these amazing medicines if no one is able to or feels like they can or feel safe accessing these medicines so the essential medicines project is an online project where we're getting people to do research online or in their lives and try and help us to understand the accessibility of existing medicines around the world and we focus on the who's world health organization's essential medicines list so the medicines that really everyone in the world should have access to and we try and understand some different aspects that of that whether the prices have changed in different places or the way people are interacting with those medicines on media they might have seen or heard things about it we're trying to gather information about that and then also we have a challenge where we look at sort of the broader life cycle of medicines and get and get students or the public to be involved in um understanding like business changes and and changes in registration of what medicines are used for over time just anything we can find on those medicines and my particular involvement in that project is trying to sort of insert it into this school space so we've got the project very well established with yala's leadership um in the sort of public sphere and i'm sort of trying to help find ways to bring that into a year year nine and ten school space and they're starting off with running some workshops and we're starting to chip away at um moving towards a teacher-led model where we can embed it into a chemistry and biology unit and teachers can actually run the normal curriculum and like with the citizen science lens the essential medicines lens as well so that's what i'm working on at the moment thank you jen and jen and i have been working together for the past year or so on some of these projects and jen's work has been really amazing in bringing her perspective and her professional background as a teacher into the project and thinking of ways to incorporate this in schools sort of looking through those lens and i think that's something that is really really important because as i said we all come to citizen science from a different place and from a different background so maybe we can talk a little bit now about how you think that background and particularly your background jen as a teacher has influenced your involvement uh in citizen science and each of you can obviously speak um from her experience uh yeah so maybe i'll jump in i think there's lots of things we experienced from the research perspective in terms of um sort of the challenges and opportunities of bringing citizen science into schools i think a lot of people here today would really agree that they've seen incredible outcomes of students really getting engaged seeing that spark in their eye not just in relation to science but i think for me also seeing students just really sort of take leadership and take ownership take control the students i worked with in the northern territory that are involved in my project were arranged to kids that were the top of the class to students that really had trouble engaging in the formal schooling system and i saw a big change in all of them and that was wonderful but i think what i wanted to sort of nut this down to today was sort of three things that maybe i can see here that might be challenges from a teacher perspective and just things that we need to to be aware of when we're asking educators to get involved in citizen science and and one of those things i touched on before is that sometimes for people who haven't been super involved in science before they might think you're a little bit sort of out of touch if you're saying yeah i want to do real genuine science in schools and people like you can't do that what are you talking about and i think that can be a real challenge and i think maybe if as a as a group here one of the things we can do is work on really promoting some really good examples of citizen science and students doing amazing science in in schools that would actually be really powerful because there probably are teachers out there who want to do this but aren't really able to because it doesn't seem possible to a lot of the people around them i think the second thing is that citizen science is a very project based it's very student-driven work and there's really uncertain outcomes and one of the things we need to keep in mind is many teachers to do that in a classroom they're going to really have to completely overhaul the way they teach many teachers many of us teachers have been taught you know that the way they teach is to come in and communicate the science that science is sort of an authoritative truthful thing um and you don't necessarily feel comfortable with the idea of like critiquing or questioning that and if personally you don't feel comfortable with that it's hard to lead that in the classroom and i think i think i'm sort of coming to the realization that unless you're sort of critiquing other people's processes and conclusions than their thoughts you can't really engage in the scientific process so so this idea of science as an authoritative thing is really sort of getting in the way of us being able to bring citizen science into schools and i know there are plenty of teachers out there who look at look at science differently and understand that critique thing um but if we're engaging lots of people in it like teachers in many ways are going to have to really completely overhaul the way they they act in the classroom and you sort of have to give up some of that power and authoritarian like feeling like you know the answer to everything because it is citizen times we don't know the answer yet the student's gonna be asking questions we don't know yet so you really have to completely overhaul this thing and that's really deeply personal really embedded in who you are in your professional and personal identity so it's really really challenging and it's important when we're going into schools that we sort of understand that um i think the third thing is that um citizen science uh this uncertain outcomes thing when you're a teacher and you're trying to plan assessments you need to make sure it fits in with the requirements of the curriculum you need to make sure it's accessible in a certain way you need to make sure that's fair so imagine trying to write a rubric and you're going to say all right the students all need to create a graph and they need to do a line of best fit and they need to do a regression analysis or something like that and then it turns out some of your students are asking questions and getting qualitative data and they want to actually do a bar graph and all of a sudden your assessment doesn't work but because of the school system sometimes you have to send out those assessments get them approved send them out to families 12 months in advance so you're stuck so it can be really hard within a school system and a lot of them are quite rigid to figure out how you're going to fit it into a unit figure out how you're going to assess it and unfortunately um schools are very time poor in some ways so if it's hard to run it run something in a classroom that doesn't fit into that curriculum and assessment structure so it's really important i think the citizen scientists here that we do some of that leg work to help bring those things together and i think the learning by doing and and some of the stuff are just doing with the learning by doing project and and mapping out citizen science projects to the curriculum is a really important first step and so i think those three points that sort of that a lot of people don't think this real science is possible with students that it's really project-based student-driven work so you have to do a complete overhaul of pedagogy in the way we think about teaching and sort of fitting it into the school system sort of illustrates really nicely that um the school is a really complicated world and we're trying to bring the school world together with the academic world um and i think it's really important that we all keep an open mind and understand that we don't understand each other's worlds and we try and help each other understand each other's worlds i'll say that because i was a teacher first now i've come into research and i was trying to engage a bit with scientists sometimes and i could get really frustrated i'm like why can't you be flexible why can't you just help me do the things i want to do for my students that i really care about what are you doing but now i understand that academia is also a place where there's really rigid timelines there's really like important things that you have to fit into the system and so you're both working from really kind of in some ways rigid systems and you need to find a way to bring that together and that's tough so i think there are things we can do to help understand each other's worlds in order to work together really collaboratively yeah they're very different worlds and we need to work on understanding them yeah jen that's a fascinating perspective thank you so much for sharing that and i think we all have a lot of things to think about and i think we often don't um step out of our comfort zone to look at other people's perspectives and other people's way of you know thinking about things and their requirements and their you know systems so i think that's a really important message um our jaren which one of you wants to go next yeah um please call yeah i think a bunch of the stuff that jen has raised are things that we're trying to to work through and process and the team that's involved i think is so critical in that you know as i said i'm from a science background i don't have a teaching background and so for me it's been really important to have people who do have that teaching background or who have worked more closely with teachers to help us you know do things so that we do have a you know curriculum linked list which was the first thing when i started talking to teachers that's what they wanted and you know it was like way down my priority list whereas for them it was you know right up the top so yeah that way of of compromising and finding ways that the project works for both researchers and for the teachers and educators is so important and i'm finding that can be quite challenging because we've got um taxonomists and scientists who are part of the project who have done very limited work um with the public before and some of those perhaps have a bit of a a challenge of of the compromises we're having to make to the scientific side of the research so that there are better outcomes for the teachers and the schools because obviously if if you were given this amount and a grant money just to do the science part of it you would do it in a very different way from the way we're doing it as a citizen science project so trying to find that happy medium between where we get good outcomes for teachers and they get what they wanted out of it and that students have some learning and you know some benefits out of it but also that the research is sound and we get real research outcomes as well um is probably the biggest challenge that we're facing at the moment which i think echoes a lot of the things that jen brought up yeah um yeah totally agree with you know um both of your opinions um jensen yours but you know for me i think um one step forward is that um looking around us and learning from the global countries is that countries have already done this many many years ago and they've seen the output of of such a connection um i think the use um from my research what i've learned is that u.s has actually started as side complementary you know complementary body of national informal stem network so this is again citizen science and an amalgamation of citizen science into schools into communities and into you know so it takes over all age groups not just students you know and adults as well so starting from pre-primary primary level up to tertiary level and you know ahead of that into research we've seen um countries taking lead and getting the outcomes of of this process so um we are lagging a little bit behind in that sense that you know we would we would want to bring in that thing which has already been done we're not really like making something um new that that's absolutely not comprehensive or that's not comprehensible by you know other faculties but um that's where i think uh if someone's an expert um in research or you know um doing a research on a particular um species and things like that we we see that you know they are the experts that the subject matter expect in their own field and having that cross-curricular connections um really enhances the outcome so again as erin said you know i'm not i don't have a teaching background i don't know those teaching terminologies which schools use and that really stopped as a barrier you know that that we couldn't continue showing how important a particular citizen science project would be for a grade four grade five but then um it's more of a thought that um teaches majority of the australian primary school teachers not having a stem background that's impacting the way how children perceive science or stem in their in their learning so when they are in high school when the disengagement is here there's a huge human cry that there's a disengagement let's have programs you know to to bring back their attention and bring back their um concentration to these subjects whereas um i believe it's a little bit too late down the track but if they are you know um in grades in mid middle middle primary years and upper primary years that's that's where the engagement happens and that's where it could be playfully embedded in their curriculum so as jen mentioned you know we are working stem catalyst is taking you know going to undertake that work with um a research project called learning by doing uh with the university of sydney wherein we would be um sitting down with the team of you know teachers and um and the lbd team and mapping out the citizen science projects against the curriculum so that's that's the next step and uh yeah hopefully we'll you know we will get there and yeah we'll have more outcomes of citizen science into education thank you so much everyone for your perspectives that was really really interesting and what you've touched on just uh towards the end arj about um trying to incorporate the citizen science activities into the curriculum i find that that is really key in order to engage the teachers and to really get all those learning outcomes that we're hoping to get from engaging young people with citizen science um and i've been talking to a lot of people lately about you know best practices in doing so and that is something that continuously sort of is brought up uh as a really really important point uh so maybe you can talk a little bit more our job and how exactly we can do that and then i'll also want to hear about from jen and aaron um how do we do that how do we connect citizen science to the curriculum yeah that's that's like a million dollar questionnaire um we we definitely you know we we definitely look at the content say um again you know that emphasis that teachers know what what what they really want through that particular unit or topic of curriculum you know whereas we've got this broad spectrum of you know many topics involved and there are citizen science project that has got the cross-curricular outcomes so when we are doing say for example when taking um tree measurements or doing a land cover project um we would be involving a lot of mathematics into that you know so once we we're able to nail down the cross-curricular um the relationships and the direct outcomes of those projects that's when probably you know it's easy that um that we can let the department of education know about um about how we're going about the mapping of these citizen science projects so um one one um example of that was the video that we've just seen is that even though it was a lot of tech based thing but there was a nature element to it and having those calculations or having those um cross-curricular components coming together in one confident really helps teachers stick those boxes um you know that they're trying to um cover during during that term of study so i i think that um from the environmental perspective there are several things there are several projects that that can go across not just science but through all aspects of stem including steam and including medicine so um that's where i i believe that you know we can um map map these outcomes direct outcomes as well as cross-curricular outcomes and help it you know um help the teachers get the most out of it i feel like one of the really key parts of trying to integrate citizen science into school curriculum would be making sure that it is super flexible because so many projects are short-term grant funded and you could get you know a school and a teacher really keen on on one particular project and get it super integrated into their general curriculum but the next year that project no longer has funding and isn't running um so finding a broader way to have citizen science as as part of school curricular without it being very project specific i think would be really important i think argent aaron both bring up some really good points here i think archer's really right with the cross curriculum priorities and the general capabilities it's really easy to see how citizen science fits in with those and hits a lot of the numeracy literacy ethical understanding um critical and creative thinking all of those things are really important and to the so we've got like a 3d australian curriculum and it's both the content but also the cross-curriculum priorities and the general capabilities and citizen science fits really nicely in there i think when it comes to content um one of the things i'm starting to realize when i'm looking at the essential medicines project is i think sort of looking at the curriculum points and also having a look into some of the learning progressive progressions literature to try and start to understand how you can look at the curriculum a little creatively have a look at um some of the things that students need to know to get to where they need to be at the year level you're looking at and look at where they're going in terms of year 11 and 12 or things you think as a as a science or stem professional skills and understandings they need that the thing they're supposed to be learning in that particular year might help them get to so you can you can draw on those sort of things that are above and below along the learning progression spectrum for those particular content that you're looking at that's an idea i'm starting to play with i think arj made a really good point that teachers know what they want to get out of the particular unit and i think it's really important to sort of sit down and listen to them and cultivate really strong conversations and understand what they think they can get out of the unit what they think the students can get out of the unit um i think erin makes a really great point about being flexible one of the things that has come up in our project is we really like the project to go straight into a whole unit embedded thing but we really have to work with the school and see what they want and what they're willing to do and i talked about before sometimes teachers really have to rethink the way they do education to embed citizen science and and one of the most persuasive things is seeing the way the learners respond to these projects so sometimes what you need to do is embed the project in a really small way like a day or a couple of weeks and then um you'll get really good we know we're going to get really good outcomes from the learners and then you'll get a whole lot more people in your staff team on board because they'll all know that you're going to get those outcomes and you've got a much better chance of embedding the citizen science the year after and i also want to draw attention it's not just the curriculum we need to think about and this is something i realized recently as well um there's an australian institute of teacher and learning teacher and leadership eight school standards aitsl teachers have to demonstrate that they can do those standards they have to demonstrate whether it's proficient highly accomplished lead teacher and there's go and have a look at the website there's a whole lot of different things they can do and there's really nice illustrations of practice i think if we can think about how teachers can demonstrate that they're a really great teacher really solidly through being involved in citizen science that's also a really strong way we can start thinking about this as well thank you so much jen and everyone um jen maybe you can pop a link to that in the chat so everyone can uh get a look because that i think is a really important point that you've um highlighted there um okay so we've talked about incorporating citizen science in schools and through the curriculum and we've talked a little bit about you know how you sort of are doing it uh why you're doing it uh but i want to go in into that a little bit more in depth why citizen science what's special about citizen science that you're so excited about it in the context of of students what kind of learning did you see or do you expect to see with students that is something that you can't get in any other way i'm gonna let you decide who's going first i think art should she explain this really nicely i think the name itself you know um stating citizen science because science has as jen mentioned you know in the discussion that um it's it's so authoritative and it really you know um makes it fearful for people when when it comes is you know not really um into doing science or you know making um people from different backgrounds basically what i'm talking about is like they really fear and what citizen science is that opening this you know the philosophy of you know anyone can do science and you don't have to be an expert probably almost majority of the citizen science project has got this line uh under that that you don't have to be an expert you don't have to come from a city science background that really invites people um of all ages to to come and participate in any project and that brings up opens up the willingness so um maybe through nature connection or maybe through um you know other aspects of doing citizen science in laboratory um settings that's something um that that's the first thing that i would say you know is is we really want to bring in people there um or interest develop interest in and the outcome you know what we are for i guess is stimulating obviously because as they say that in 2030 or beyond you know five to eight years from now we don't know which which what sort of jobs would exist or the existing jobs whether they would stay or not so we do need disney expertise where children are not or you know the new coming generation are is not fearful of um any of those major stem disciplines so um that's that's why i believe that you know it's it's so doable friendly it has got um the extra tangents i would say that you know mental health um socializing other aspects that people come together for different levels not just studies and academics but um they can they can socialize and while we were doing these projects with youngsters a couple of councils um around us approached us doing this for only women or you know children or families with children or um how can we involve men doing these projects are other projects flexible or adaptable for you know for a men's group and it it totally came down to you know what we're doing um and how we can support we've given them the ideas and things but um i think that those projects are still in pipeline but as i mentioned outside of the academic circle um these these are so flexible citizen science projects are so flexible and and the outcomes could be you know from any of those perspectives yeah and i think like for me i think citizen science is that key thing that takes learning science away from learning content which i think is so much a part of science in school and even in undergraduate you know at university it's very content focused until you hit you know honours masters phd level whereas citizen science allows you to instantly be more about learning the process of science and learning about discovery and i mean that's that key thing that makes us all become scientists is that thriller of discovering something new and i think being able to have that at that earlier age in a structured way through citizen science projects is is a really cool thing yeah i think argent have really discussed that really nicely i think um when it comes to education week they have this saying about how it takes a village to educate a child and i think citizen science is a really beautiful opportunity to achieve this thing like a lot of schools are really trying to find ways to connect the communities their local communities parents families and everyone in the community to get involved in schools and um citizen science is a really wonderful way that you can do this and and i saw that in the project that i was running in catherine and yeah and i think citizen science sort of really brings science out of just the content and connects it to the real world like aaron said um learners and young people will be able to see how science is actually relevant to the world around them and and that's that's really powerful okay i hope everyone's convinced that citizen science is the next thing um but as we know um as everything in life there are also challenges that come with it um and so for my last question before we sort of open this up for a broader discussion i would love to hear you know some of the challenges that you've had in the process of engaging young people of engaging with schools because you know it sounds so great but we know that you know things take time and they're a process and we want to hear about that as well erin do you want to go first yeah i think we're probably still going to come up to that stage um probably the one thing that in terms of discovering what the challenges are because we've yet to really do broad scale involvement of teachers in schools some of the ones that i've come up with or already i guess have been the limitations of being able to personalize the project for each individual school or teacher um because it as um jen and aj have already sort of said every school and every teacher is different and they're going to want to use the project in different ways but we have limited resources in terms of how we can structure it so um being able to incorporate enough of that that that schools and teachers feel comfortable taking it and using it without us you know stretching ourselves too thin in terms of you know offering a multitude of different options in terms of resources and project designs and all that kind of thing i think will be a challenge um especially for us is where we're not restricting it to any particular year level or age group or anything like that having project resources that teachers at grade 3 level and grade 10 level can both take and adapt i think is one of the challenges we've been discussing in in the project team at the moment do you want to jump in lunch yeah i just um you know want to mention that um the the inbit like that you know the more we have um [Music] people involved in it and the more it is popular popular popularized i would say that you know that um [Music] there are certain programs global programs wherein it's only connected with citizen sciences connected to those schools because they've registered and they know about those programs so it's like if the more we popularize um i believe that um that it's it's going to be easy and um and it's it's going it's not just three um schools as we've focused um into education but through all other um spectrums um through community engagement and through other initiatives through councils that we can spread out these projects that would be helpful here yeah i definitely agree i think one of the issues um that sort of i just touched on is at the moment in australia not not that many schools really know that citizen science is the thing they can get involved in so if we can find ways to spread that and popularize that and spread that message that it is possible and it has wonderful outcomes in ways that make sense to teachers and sort of reflecting on sort of like teachers don't have access to the research we have access to a lot of the time for time and and you know even if it's open access they don't have time but often it's not open access how can we sort of get that message out in a way that makes sense to them and is persuasive to them i think is something we need to think about um we talked also about the challenges of gathering feedback sometimes um we often perceive feedback i think in science as sort of maybe a way to measure the impact of our projects but i was sort of reflecting on how can we actually build relationships that are strong enough that schools can say hey that that really didn't work that was rubbish you know how can we have build those honest genuine feedback conversations to actually build on our projects um and i think also aaron touched on this resources thing i think we said before both schools and academia are a place that are really time poor really restricted in many ways and i think some of these citizen projects science projects really require this building of long relationships over time and that can be really tough particularly for early career researchers when you're sort of supposed to jump in get a project done in a year or three years and then jump out that's really tough and the other thing that i i know there's starting to be conversations about this in sort of in the space of working with aboriginal and torres strait islander people is like building collaborative projects with people in the community and the ethics process where it's like you really want to build this collaborative project with the people you're involved in but you're not really supposed to do that until you've done your ethics but to do your ethics you really have to know what the project's going to be so how do you how do we get around that how do we work within that framework i don't know but i think that's a challenge that i see um in building those genuine collaborative citizen science projects okay i want to thank you jen and thank you uh aaron and arge um i just to sum up what i sort of feel that i've been hearing from the three of you and from um you know other conversations about citizen science uh and learning i feel that there's a lot of potential and there's so many great things about it um and i think what we have to remember as you know citizen science researchers and practitioners and educators is that it as everything really it takes some effort and it takes some design and we have to think really carefully what we're doing and who we're speaking with and what the needs of the people on the other side are not just what we want to implement and do but what teachers need and how teachers you know how they you know practice um teaching in their classroom and what the requirements from them are towards you know their teaching goals and working really together with teachers and with schools in order to come up with programs that really work for everyone uh and it's a process and i think that's that's the the main thing that we have to remember that it's not something that we can just um you know send out and and will just happen it's something that we have to continuously work on um as we know from our research and from our other practices i'm sure um so don't go anywhere we're not finished i will just finish with the more official part of today but i do want to open up for everyone to open up their cameras and have a conversation we did have one question in the chat which i think is not um particularly directed to any one of us but maybe we can all offer some of our perspectives and maybe some other people in the chat here can also help so we have a question from um this correct masudur raman asking about citizen science projects uh in developing countries and specifically in bangladesh so i'm not familiar with particular projects in bangladesh but i'm sure there are citizen sciences just growing so so quickly and there are lots of global projects which you can engage with from anywhere but if any of you here are familiar with anything in particular i'm going to spotlight michelle here which just knows everything there is to know about citizen science maybe you can provide an answer as well thanks yellow there's lots of international citizen science projects you can also talk uh check out citizenscience.asia there's uh projects.citizenscience.asia forward slash is actually a list of all the projects so it's actually an excel list and i'll stick it in the chat um of all the ones that they're finding at the moment put that in now um we've also got quite a few and for those in developing countries in particular who perhaps don't have access to internet etc pen and paper works just as well um there is a website you can make your own one up and then print out stuff called anikdata.org um i will put that up as well and you can actually make your own citizen science projects on this one and it could be anywhere in the world uh it has a free app you can just say which project you're aligned with and it does it all for you but otherwise um scistata has a great one on international project on pollution monitoring and let's not forget that nasa has some as well as well as that there's more international ones on air quality monitoring marine debris so yeah quite a few of them out there you'd really just have to do a quick google and find out what's near you thanks yeah yeah um uh do you wanna maybe um unmute uh mercy door and tell us where you're from and what you're interested in hey hello thanks everyone to give me a chance i'm from bangladesh i'm actually working as a volunteer i love work as a volunteer so i am actually searching some kind of remote project so i can contribute some things for science thanks um i might add to that my naturalist is also in bangladesh so if you are looking for um you can download the eye naturalist app if you have access to that you can download the national sap make your own project in that and have a look at what's around you it's pretty easy to do um you do have to have 50 to before you can make your own project you do actually have to have 50 um observations of your own that are research grade otherwise the system thinks you're a bot so it's easier if you just go in and do it yourself um my naturalist is a lot of fun it really does depend on what your scientific question is though um so really what do you want to find out about thank you michelle we always know that you have a good good answer to questions um if other people would like to ask any questions anything that is related to um to the discussion or pat hey ayla how you going can everyone hear me oh good yeah hi everyone thanks for a great presentation really wonderful to hear your insights about this i guess i guess my question is for each of the panelists thinking about you know how are you understanding you know whether your projects are making a difference whether they're meeting the goals that you've set yourself you know what what does what does success look like to you um and i guess that the second part of that question is you know how do you go about measuring that are you you know conducting some formal assessments through surveys or using rubrics um or is it something a little bit more informal say through you know your own experience or um even you know storytelling or communications would be great to hear that aspect to your work into your projects and and yeah thanks again i can um i can jump in there just because we're in the process of trying to plan the evaluation at the moment um and the science outcomes are fairly easy to measure you know how many insects do we find how many new species do we discover you know how many publications do we get out of that i think the impact for the participants is the thing that's a little bit harder to measure uh and i think we're trying to combine both some quantitative stuff with surveys but also some more qualitative things because i think um that's probably where we're going to be able to explore the most as to what those impacts were on both the students and for the teachers so yeah something we're trying trying to develop at the moment but it's hard well i'm finding it hard coming from a science background rather than a social science background um to work out how we how we measure impact yeah that's right adam you know um we we actually tried doing both aspects um so every time we did um a citizen science project we had um the qualitative as well as a quantitative analysis to it so the survey questions were like um how accessible these sort of events are how would you like to participate more into into citizen science activities and um when after every project when we had the individual project report been presented to funders there was there was nearly a hundred percent positive report of people wanting to do more citizen science so that really you know um shows the kindness or the need in the community that um yes citizen science projects are very well you know um received by the participants um even though um certain hands-on things were focused for a particular age group but we see that the tangential results were much more greater than what was expected so um i would i would say that framing those evaluation questionnaires of things a little bit of trick in there that what do we really want to find out um is it is it more of the participation level or um you know the yeah the science or the um you know the engagement or um so those those things when we have um taken the pre and the post so every time our audience were different um sometimes we had to deal with the questionnaires with with those children been filling those questionnaires out sometimes it were they were parents sometimes they were professionals so in every um different evaluation what we found out was that that citizen science has got a great potential um for for a variety of audience i hope that answers the question pat um for our projects the breaking good and essential medicines yay has actually been leading that so i think she should jump in after me and give you an answer to that as well but we're doing we've been doing sort of a range of gathering feedback just for our sort of improvement as well as some validated um surveys i don't know a scala um i do want to add though that i think something i'm thinking about a lot lately is teachers are really trying to work on ways we can evaluate science that are not just we've been just doing lots of standardized tests for a long time and we're trying to break out of that but it's really hard to find good examples of that and i think there's actually probably an amazing opportunity here for scientists like yala who are working on this evaluation of learning outcomes really understand that sort of how to make a reliable and valid test of of changing um both the sort of how do you describe it like the confidence or the engagement or the enthusiasm as well as the learning outcomes but i think also teachers have a lot of expertise in measuring growth of particular learning outcomes as well so i think there's an amazing opportunity here to and i'd really love to see some collaborations between teachers and citizen science evaluation researchers to work on improving this a little bit more i'm going to handle to yala so she can answer the specifics of our essential medicines and breaking good thank you jen yes so i um actually do have quite a bit of experience doing evaluation of different learning um um and engagement um processes and um i i will talk about a range of different kinds of things so first of all it is really important to do pre-post and that is quantitative research uh looking at you know sort of in a more objective kind of way um what students knew before and or what their perceptions were before and after but um often you won't see any difference when you look at that because the scales are not very sensitive you usually use a one to five scale and if you say how much do you love science and people say five in the beginning uh and they say five in the end then you won't see any difference but that doesn't mean that it didn't have an impact on how they love science and so uh quantitative research and or that kind of um test has its limitations and that's definitely something that i've seen over time and so um i just i can't stress the importance of qualitative uh data enough that is it's so important to talk to the people and try to get you know what their feelings and what their impressions and what their learnings are from sort of a personal perspective and talking to teachers is also so important because teachers know what their students learned and so just by you know having interviews with teachers you can already start to understand what the learning outcomes are for students um and we are actually um just trying to uh develop a new kind of evaluation for looking at learning outcomes through citizen science sort of recognizing that doing that formal evaluation pre and post is also not good enough if to be completely honest but also it's just it's it's difficult for project leaders to also take upon themselves another thing like that and to design evaluation to use evaluations and to go through ethic processes for that it's a lot of work for something that won't necessarily give you the outcomes or the results that you're looking for and so doing some qualitative research i think is also really important and using sort of the observational data of the people who are leading those projects and the people who are you know facilitating uh in order to do some evaluation and to to systematically collect that qualitative data i think is really important and i'm i'm currently looking into how is the best way to do that and just pat thank you for the question because i think it's a really important question and i think it's something that often we we don't discuss enough so thank you for for asking that does anybody else yeah no worries well i was just gonna i was just gonna say i mean just a couple of thoughts around um the evaluation and thinking about you know what is it for like why are we doing it in the first place is it to feedback into the design of these projects to make them more impactful or is it perhaps for um you know demonstrating uh the impact of the project to some sort of external people say funders or you know uh other other people that are interested in your project so yeah it's difficult and then i was just also thinking about you know there is i've seen um various open open access rubrics and things that could assist projects in helping to evaluate projects looking at those different categories of impacts around you know the science around the um participant outcomes but also the sort of broader you know social community level outcomes as well so um yeah i agree it's super important not done enough very difficult mixed methods approaches would be you know you know a good way to go but it put places a lot of pressure on project organizers and there needs to be more efficient and uh effective ways to evaluate citizen science because you know we need to demonstrate that these these projects um the ever increasing number of projects uh are actually making a difference and are leading us towards um a future that we that we hope for so and on that point maybe schools are a really good place that can jump in and help us like shoulder some of that load like teachers need to assess the work we're doing in citizen science anyway can they help us develop it and and and you know um that gives us a bit of a relief from designing it all out ourselves all the time they're already quite good at this kind of thing i think that's a really really great point and it just reminds me of um what do they call it for the participatory evaluation where you're you know encouraging the people that your participants include including them in the evaluation rather than you as a project organizer doing all the work um maybe it's just worth sitting down for for an hour with a group of people that were involved in the project and and doing it together and embedding that in the actual project design there's actually a few groups in europe i think that are working on doing participatory design within citizen science and i think that's a really interesting approach particularly because you know citizen science is all about getting people right to do tasks that they're not professionally trained to do so in that sense doing their own evaluation is just really continuing the same uh idea of citizen science so i think that's a really interesting idea which uh i would be really keen to to look into a little bit more i would just like to point out that currently there are 468 active citizen science projects on our project finder for axa 138 of which have teaching materials and 226 are listed as family friendly social for kids so there's plenty of scope there definitely we'll have to go check all those out i want to do an analysis of what types of teaching materials are available with all of them and see what's out there that would be really cool i agree so here's the link in the chat of where i got those numbers from i'm master of the link um yeah so again i've gone on to some of them and i can't see any visual teaching aids either so perhaps that's something we're also missing from our project finder is here is a link to the teaching requirements or here is what what it um best represents what age groups or you know what part of the curriculum etc maybe that's something else we also need to look for in future on our project finder is making it easier for that um i'd also like to have an entrance for teachers i'm looking at this age group and doing science or statistics or something with them which ones are out there what can i use i think that would make it an easier one-stop shop as well yeah i would like to jump into add to michelle's point michele that's how the stem catalyst developed their products so complementing the citizen science projects with what sort of other material or what sort of other complementing stuff in the form of interactive games or you know things like building puzzles and playing kahoot you know to emphasize the topic is something that we incorporate always um we we developed a uh hour-long presentation for a project called wild pollinators wherein abc has got these amazing game on insects that you know that virtually that has got a 3d camera and the way that you hover around your camera or your finger or with that camera it takes it gives you a different view of an insect so when we were learning more about um [Music] bees you know it was like we're here um children are going to explore bees in the backyard but who's going to hold and bring it close so we had this game in um income incorporated into that webinar reading children can actually hover around and click on the link over around that insect get to know all the body parts all the anatomy of the thing and then when they actually get this creeper creeper in the video that you would have seen um a plastic toy kind of thing so it's a it's a creeper keeper wherein children can actually hold the insect and closely see um so the things that they've seen virtually can be seen you know um in real life so what michelle is saying is right that you know it needs an extra bit of research and there she is putting another link michelle critopedia so yeah um and those are the things you know if we complement that to the citizen science projects probably it will magnify the you know or um the impact and you know the the fact that teaching resources or lessons that are already planned up um alongside the project is is probably very helpful you know just to just um pick out those topics um get those lesson plans ready and you know away they go for the listen to be delivered so i think yes i agree on that one that um it it is time taking i and and as we mentioned that you know teachers are um time for that they really are tight with their schedules so if we as experts can help teachers have all the things ready for them um so that would that would really create a big difference thanks i'm just wondering has anyone thought about you talking about having the time and building up this stuff when do you start like what time of year when i volunteer in schools with csiro stem professionals and unfortunately meg's just left she's part of that system as well but what i've found is i usually start with my teachers that i'm i'm paired with in november of the year before this actually start doing anything so where is the ideal time to start putting all that stuff in place depends on the school it depends on the teacher it depends on the year group so you've got to avoid the exam blocks <br><!-- wp:image {"id":1776,"sizeSlug":"large","linkDestination":"none"} -->rn<figure class="wp-block-image size-large"><img class="wp-image-1776" src="https://en.videoencontexto.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/EMCR_Lunchtime_Seminar_6_Citizen_Science__Education_Panel_with_QA_T2R7-zYDWxE.jpg" alt="EMCR Lunchtime Seminar 6: Citizen Science &amp; Education Panel with Q&amp;A" /></figure>rn<!-- /wp:image -->[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

EMCR Lunchtime Seminar 6: Citizen Science &amp; Education Panel with Q&amp;A


Comments (0)

Post a comment